I have never seen a city so obsessed with death and supernatural phenomena like the city of New Orleans. If Edward and his family from the Twilight movies were to move to another city, they would be very welcome here in New Orleans. Not all cemeteries in every city are visited by tourists. Only a handful of these cities have cemeteries worth visiting. Some cemeteries are visited because famous and important people are interred there. But the cemeteries in New Orleans are famous because of how people are buried – above ground in small tombs or mausoleum. The idea of “burying” people above ground were introduced by the Spaniards. Some of them have only one or two occupants. Others has entire families and several generations within them. The historic cemeteries in New Orleans are small, only a square block and they are located within parts of the city amongst residential and commercial areas. These was how citizens of New Orleans from generations before wished to spent their eternal life.
For my visit to New Orleans, I was able to see the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 both under restoration by different conservation groups. Thankfully because of these kind and caring people, we get to see these cemeteries in its original form. Now visitors flock to these places today. The Lafayette Cemetery is free to visitors, but the St. Louis Cemetery requires a paid tour guide to visit. The money from these tours are put into the restoration of the mausoleum.
The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is located at Basin Street just outside the French Quarter. The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, however is located in the Garden District at Washington Street across the street from the famous New Orleans restaurants called Commander’s Palace. You can visit Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 as long as its open from 7:30am to 3:30pm. The St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is open during the day as well but to paid guided tours only, so be sure to make reservations to see this particular cemetery because it is the most popular one of all of them in New Orleans.
Visiting cemeteries in old cities like New Orleans is really nothing to fear. If the local people are quite proud about the heritage of this places, I don’t see why you should not at least check it out. You may know something new about the city that you will never learn in the tours or guidebooks.